Discover Caravaggio’s Rome with Andrew Graham Dixon - Tripsmiths


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Rarely has an artist had such an impact on the later generations as Michelangelo Merisi, called Caravaggio after the town in Lombardia where he was raised. Orphaned by the age of 13, Caravaggio was a tortured genius known as much for his preternatural skill as he was for his destructive temper which saw him imprisoned on innumerable occasions and which led to his murdering Ranuccio Tomassoni in Rome in 1606.

His skill as a painter, however, was undoubted. He transformed chiaroscuro into dramatic tenebrism, his characters theatrically being unveiled by rays of light. He was a quick worker who painted directly onto the canvas. What made him revolutionary, though, was his radical naturalism, which saw him paint ordinary looking people in graphic detail, allowing him to offer rare psychological insights. He brought this naturalism even to his sacred subjects, making the scenes more immediate. His depiction of Our Lady in the Pilgrim's Madonna caused a sensation because it audaciously depicted her as barefooted.

While Caravaggio painted in different cities, including Naples and Malta, it is in Rome that he made his name. From an inauspicious beginning in which he sold his art on the street, Caravaggio became the most famous painter in a Rome which provided him numerous opportunities and commissions. This tour offers you the chance to see some of his most spectacular works, including his only wall painting in the Villa Ludovisi, as well as his most famous, including his paintings of St Matthew in the Chiesa di San Luigi dei Francesi. What makes this tour special is that it is led by one of the nation's most famous art critics, Andrew Graham-Dixon. The chief art critic of the Sunday Telegraph and the presenter of a number of documentaries, including a series on the Renaissance and on Caravaggio, Graham-Dixon has written a book on Caravaggio called Caravaggio: A Life Sacred and Profane. We will be staying in a hotel in the Campus Martius, not far from where Caravaggio murdered Tomassoni and walking distances from our sites. We will be exploring a number of galleries and churches which display Caravaggio's most important works. These include the wonderful Galleria Borghese which includes a number of his paintings, the incredible Vatican Museums, as well as the Palazzo Doria Pamphilj, one of the largest private art collections in Rome. This short trip will enlighten you on the troubled genius that is Caravaggio, giving you insights you would not have had without expertise of Andrew Graham-Dixon.

Tour highlights:

  • Visit the Galleria Borghese with its incredible collection of Caravaggi
  • Explore some of Caravaggio's most famous paintings with one of the nation's most famous art critics
  • Enjoy evening lectures given by Andrew Graham-Dixon
  • Visit the Vatican Museums
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